Serene and Scenic Edinburgh!

2nd Oct 2015

Not until I started planning for this trip did I know that Edin'burgh' is pronounced as Edin'burra'. One of my motivations to visit Scotland was my love for scotch and the thing I was looking forward to the most were the whisky trails I was gonna take.

We chose to go to Edinburgh via London by flight and we had found ourselves a good hotel in Hotel Apex International on the Grass Market Road. The legend goes that this area was indeed a ‘grass/hay’ market for all the horses long ago.

I got here and I knew this was going to be a spectacular trip when I checked-in into a room facing the Edinburgh castle. Like....come on! It was a bonus that it was so close to everything else plus Mary’s Milk Bar was just next door. It is as good as it is made out to be!

We had a line of street facing bars opposite our window – one of which, the owners claimed, was the oldest bar in Edinburgh – the white hart inn. I like it when I chance upon these places. It just adds to the whole experience.

We were in Edin’burra’ for 4 days and we used to walk up and down the Grass Market Road. The Royal Mile was just up the hill and the Whiski Rooms just round the corner.

After a day of meandering along the streets and the parks between the old and the new town we were hit by 4 things - 1. The city's love for books - I mean there are book shops, book tours, book gallis and the works. 2. The locals' love for looking good - every 4th shop is a hair and beauty salon 3. The Scottish accent - which is the complete opposite of its cousin the oh so sexy English one. 4. The Scottish scoff on anything and everything English!:) that is indeed fun to watch and makes for good humour!

One of the clichéd thing to do while in Edinburgh is to take those day trips to one of the many lakes and castle surrounding this beautiful city. And we did take one. After much deliberation over which loch (Scottish for lake) and castle to visit, we chose to take the trip to the Stirling Castle and Loch Lomond (since Nessy hasn't made an appearance for quite a while now)

Very frankly, choosing the best tour is quite inconsequential, because I realized that all of them take your breath away. The breathtaking views of the lake from the top of a small hillock there made me believe that I am indeed a lucky girl who's gotten a chance to witness this. Strong winds blowing thru your hair, the chill working up your spine, a few chosen friends with you looking at this in silence....not a word said for a few still moments spoke volumes about so many things!

I am a big sucker for autumn and its colours and I always plan my trips in the months of September and October. The colours have never failed to move me.

While returning from our day trip, the autumn colours were on display in full splendor. Looking at a landscape lit with a blaze of red, orange and yellow is the way I wish to die! It was unforgettable and the entire day is quietly tucked away in a special section of my travel diaries! That was end of Day 2!

Spoiler Alert for the ladies: no hot men in Edinburra!

Day 3 and 4 were dedicated to going on the whisky trails and I have to say that it's not called aqua vitae for nothing!:)

After being on a high on seeing much of the beautiful lowlands it was time to experience what the Scottish have been doing for centuries...the fine art of making the 'water of life'. Malt/barley, water, yeast and of course time create something magical and we had our share of tasting it. I must admit though that by the time we visited the last glen on our list words like smoky, oaky, fruity, peaty, spicy etc. didn't make any all:)!

One very interesting story they told us was that when the oak barrels sit in the cellars for years, a lot of what is inside evaporates into thin air and the scots call it the 'angels' share'. Now I know what I want to be in my next angel hovering over Scotland! ????

Photo of Serene and Scenic Edinburgh! 1/1 by Nilima Kale

Like any other European country, it has its share of architecture and history and the old and the new blend so very well. I love art (as in paintings) and I paid my customary visit to the National Gallery and I chanced upon an exhibition of Arthur Melville. His watercolour works were a treat to watch!

We could have done a few things differently to experience Scotland to the fullest. Maybe instead of 4 days in Edinburgh, we could have moved to the highlands for a couple days. Well, the fact that we didn’t, gives me one more reason to visit this country again! The ideal itinerary is to cover the Lowlands, Speyside and the Highlands.

So that was the end of almost 4 days of living (the amazing weather) breathing (the different whisky scents) and eating (pig in every form and manner u can imagine and oh.....u must try the black's totally really really yuck).

I think this country lives on its own watch - serene and scenic! I would best sum it up like a famous whisky brand describes itself 'Unhurried and worth the wait!'Slàinte Mhath - Good health everybody! Cheers!